Detailed CAT Exam Pattern – CAT 2018


The Common Admission Test (CAT) is considered one of the most important exams of all the management entrance examination. IIM Calcutta released the notification for the CAT Examination on 29 August 2018, and the exam is scheduled for 25 November 2018. CAT Examination provides an opportunity to lakhs of aspirants who seek admission in the top-most management institutions.

These institutions are such as the Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) and some prestigious B-schools such as FMS, BIMTECH, IMI in New Delhi. CAT Exam pattern always remain the same, and there has been no significant change in the marking scheme and question distribution.

The marks in CAT Exam pattern are distributed in exam paper in different proportion like RC has more marks than cloze test, DI has more marks than directional questions and so on. In this article, we are trying to brief the applicant about the CAT Exam Pattern so that applicant can plan his/her study schedule and don’t panic.

CAT Exam Pattern

Overview of the CAT Pattern

CAT Question Paper Pattern Details

Duration of the Test

3 hours or 180 minutes

Total Number of Sections in CAT


Sectional Duration

1 hour or 60 minutes

Total Number of Questions in CAT


Total Marks of the CAT


Marks per question


Negative marking for wrong answer



CAT Marking Scheme

As per the CAT exam pattern, the number of questions asked varies in each section – 34 question is Quantitative and VA-Rc both, while 32 questions in DI-LR. In the CAT exam, the candidate is awarded 3 marks for each correct answer ( for all the sections) whereas, one mark is deducted for each incorrect answer. However, there is no negative marking for any unattempted question. Also, in the previous year, it has been observed that there was no negative marking for the non-MCQs.

S. No. Subjects Marking Scheme
1. Quantitative Aptitude 102 ( 34 questions* 3 marks each)
2. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI-LR) 96 (32 Questions * 3 marks each)
3. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VA-RC) 102 ( 34 Questions* 3 marks each)
CAT Total Marks 300

CAT Question Distribution Scheme

S. No. Sections Question Distribution
1. Quantitative Aptitude 34
2. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI-LR) 32
3. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VA-RC) 34
Total Questions 100

Sections in the CAT 2018

The exam has been divided into 3 sections as per the CAT pattern. Each of the three sections has the time limit of one hour.

  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension: This section will test the English language skills of the candidate
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning: Graph, tables, and charts will be provided to test the candidate’s mental abilities such as memory, flexibility, and speed.
  • Quantitative Ability: Problem-solving and basic mathematical skills are required to score the most out of this section.

Number of MCQ and non-MCQs

As per the CAT exam pattern, there is a total 100 question in the entrance exam, out of which 75 question are Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), whereas, there are 25 questions which are Non-MCQ. In the examination hall, the Candidates are required to use a virtual keyboard with the help of a mouse provided to them at the centre for answering non-MCQ based questions. Based on the pattern of previous year questions, we present a table below which shows the section-wise distribution of MCQ and non-MCQ type questions.

S.No. Section MCQs Non-MCQs Total number of questions
1 Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VA-RC) 24 10 34
2 Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI-LR) 24 8 32
3 Quantitative Aptitude 27 7 34
Total 75 25 100

The strict and complex exam pattern for the CAT leaves little or no room for speculation. Candidates are advised to answer only those questions they are confident about. Speculating and guessing may lead to lesser marks as there is in negative marking in most of the questions. Qualifying CAT is a dream come true for many who aspire to pursue higher education of the top-most quality in the field of management. The IIMs and other B-schools provide a wide variety of specializations in their study programmes